Voice-to-text technology is finally getting some respect. As first reported by TechCrunch UK, Goldman Sachs is investing in a $100 million private financing round for SpinVox, a London-based technology startup that transcribes voicemails to text so that they can be more easily digitized, searched, and manipulated. Other investors in the round included GLG Partners, Blue Mountain Capital Management and Toscafund Asset Management. This brings the total invested so far to $200 million, reports Reuters. The 31-year-old CEO, Christina Domecq (a member of the liquor family of the same name) says this latest round values the company at $500 million. There were rumors previously that SpinVox was pursuing an IPO, but with the markets in a tizzy the company found more private money instead.
SpinVox has some interesting Web apps, including Spin-My-Blog and Facebook and Twitter integration, but it is really a mobile play. People actually pay extra for this type of service on mobile phones. SpinVox has partnerships with twelve mobile carriers, mostly in Europe, including O2, Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile, 3, and Virgin Mobile. They still have limited availability in the U.S. for any of their services. But if people like visual voicemail on the iPhone—which simply lists voicemails like e-mails but still makes you listen to them—imagine if they could translate all of those voicemails to e-mail and simply read them.
When it comes to mobile, voice is still the best way to input information but it is not the best way to extract it. SpinVox lets you have the best of both worlds. This voice thing is gonna be big.